One pleaded guilty while two are now free after the State decided to dismiss the charges against them.
That is in the case of the Soufriere siblings Manuella Williams, Loretta Xavier and Herbert Xavier who was accused of killing their brother Harrison Williams in September 2010.
The three were originally found guilty of murdering their brother and jailed for 15 years in 2010.
After appealing the Court of Appeal ruled that there were enough errors to render the conviction unsafe and so quashed the conviction and sentence and remitted the matter back to the high court.
A charge of man slaughter was then read to the three who pleaded not guilty.
A jury was empanelled and on March 1, 2016, Herbert Xavier pleaded guilty and is now on remand awaiting sentencing.
The charge against his two sisters was dismissed by the State.
After the decision, Director of public prosecutions (DPP,) Evelina Baptiste, told the court: “This is a matter of serious public interest. Several factors were taken into consideration by the DPP. There must always be a balancing act between rights of victims and defendants. In this matter, the investigating officer is dead and the pathologist who performed the autopsy on the deceased body is out of State and can’t be located for the trial.”
She added: “Justice must be done and we are aware of certain sentiments expressed by witnesses. There was a first trial and a conviction was obtained on appeal it was quashed by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal who stated that the DPP may order a retrial. They have served some time in jail about 4 years. We are dedicated to ensuring that justice is done in Dominica. It must be noted that every case turns on its own merits.”
Justice Errol Thomas also addressed the court describing the incident as “very unfortunate.”
“This is a very unfortunate situation…children saw and it can have a lasting effect on them. If it was a stranger it would have been different. I will speak to the welfare people for the sake of the children and you all to get some counseling. Take time out to mend the fences…get a priest or somebody to help in that regard,” he stated.
Dawn Yearwood Stewart, Wayne Norde and Darius Jones represented the family.
Herber Xavier will be sentenced later this month.